Outlines the restoration of the Russian film classic “Man with a Movie Camera” (USSR, 1929) by Dziga Vertov which was carried out by the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam between 2008 and 2010. The restoration allows contemporary audiences the possibility to once again experience Vertov’s film as the filmmaker originally intended – or at least in a version that comes as close to this as is nowadays possible. The project has been supervised by senior curator Mark-Paul Meyer, while the author had the chance and pleasure to contribute with archival research.
Narrative account of Imam Shamil, published in Russia’s People of Empire: Life Stories from Eurasia, 1500 to the Present, eds. Steve Norris & Willard Sunderland (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press), 117-128.
This essay considers Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy of hospitality in relation to the “isolated and heroic being that the state produces by its virile virtues,” through an analysis of female Chechen suicide terrorists in contemporary Russia and the figure of Grendel in the Old English poem “Beowulf,” in order to raise some questions about the relation between violence, justice, and sovereignty, both in the Middle Ages and in our own time.
In the context of the war between Ukraine and Russia in the Donbass and the earlier crisis over Crimea, this paper examines four speeches by Vladimir Putin to identify and map populist elements in his discursive and formal strategies of justifying and creating a specific form of conflict. The analysis shows how this populism goes beyond the people/establishment dichotomy and is based on complex notions of enmity and alliance, a very broad definition of the Russian nation, a new division of the political space, and the introduction of new symbols of unity and the reaffirmation of old ones beyond the borders of today’s Russia. This casts a new shadow over Russian foreign policy in the post-Soviet space. Clarity is sought on questions about the Ukrainian conflict, but it is also hoped new elements will be brought to the existing literature on populism.
Tables of student evaluations of RUTR as a whole, and of the project in particular.
Link to the project description and course syllabus for RUTR 2470.
The paper studies long-term changes in the length of Russian poetry (1750–1921) to reveal the relation of poem length (counted in lines) to a poetic form and its evolution. The research has shown a dramatic decrease in the mean and median poetry lengths during the 19th century. This decrease was followed by the decline in length diversity, which resulted in short poems (8–20 lines) overpopulating the literature during the age of Modernism. We argue that this transformation towards the short form could be understood in the framework of cultural evolution: Russian poetry struggled to keep its literary niche, while being continuously under the pressure of successful large narratives of the 19th century. Therefore, it was forced to develop complexity while being highly constrained formally (accentual-syllabic verse and rhyme maintained for a long time) by the shrunk length of a lyrical poem.
A review of Marek Inglot, S.J., How the Jesuits Survived Their Suppression. The Society of Jesus in the Russian Empire (1773-1814), ed. and trans. D. L. Schlafly (Philadelphia: Saint Joseph’s University Press, 2015), Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu 85, Fasc. 169.
Review of Nikolaos Chrissidis, An Academy at the Court of the Tsars: Greek Scholars and Jesuit Education in Early Modern Russia
In 1791, amidst growing anxiety about British encroachment on its fur trade with the Qing Empire, the Russian government discovered that Britain was sending a large and important embassy to Beijing, led by Lord Macartney. In an attempt to derail the negotiations, Russia enrolled the Polotsk Jesuits in a plot to convince the Qing of the nefariousness of British designs. The conspiracy was not a success, despite Macartney’s failure. The Jesuits both in Belarus and Beijing continued to play a central role in Russia’s geopolitical plans in the region for the next decade and a half, although ultimately the project to establish a Russian Jesuit college in the Qing capital failed. Using Russian as well as Jesuit archival sources, the article reconstructs the secret plans, mishaps, and miscalculations that shaped this unusual relationship.